Poole tries to be more social

Poole councillors pushed the boundaries of their social media profiles, looking to improve their presence in the new media. Laura Curtis looks at how successful the experiment was.

The Borough of Poole council experimented with social media with a positive outcome resulting in a large number of responses, when they explored the limits of social networking.

On the 22 February, Poole councillors pushed the boundaries of what they are currently doing for their social media profiles, looking to improve on how best to use their social media networks.

During the first five hours of the experiment they had tweeted 42 times, roughly eight an hour. Before this day, on both their Facebook and Twitter accounts they had only been posting a few times a day.

So much so that Facebook user, Gilly Cobbin complained saying: “Suddenly you’re taking over the whole of my Facebook page…what has happened?”

The Borough of Poole’s response was that it was just a one day experiment and that that her frustrations were understandable “but we will be back to normal tomorrow” they said.

Throughout the day the team that were working the social media accounts highlighted the work that the council had been working on in and around Poole, including notifications about everyday things like refuse collection.

A number of photographs went up including a charming image of the children from Merley School entering Poole Museum dressed as pirates. And they showed the progress of other projects around the area such as the waste transfer facility being built.

During the day it was announced that 198 people subscribed, that day, to the new green bin service along with the 10968 people who have already subscribed to green bins and that the waste collection team collected 137 tonnes of refuse and 49 tonnes of recycling that day.

It was also brought to our attention that Poole has also reduced 270 tonnes of Co2 emissions information that came from the first Greenhouse gases emissions report.

As well as using Facebook and Twitter, they were also making use of their Flickr and YouTube accounts. They did not utilise the use of their platform on Youtube, only posting two new videos, but Flickr was flooded with a number of photos showing off community workers helping lost dogs, cooking food and generally cleaning up areas of Poole.

During their Q&A session between 3-4pm Councillor Elaine Atkinson, Leader of the Council, and John McBride, Chief Executive of Borough of Poole said: “Our typing isn’t great! Good to hear about people’s views and learn about social media. Can’t believe number of contacts.”

The Q&A session allowed the public to voice their concerns, on a variety of areas revolved around the council and their responsibilities in the community, with an immediate response from Cllr Elaine Atkinson and Cllr John McBride. Questions were answered on issues of the Twin Sail Bridge opening, public sector wages and how much the council tax will be going up this year (0%).

Overall although the tweeting and posts on Facebook did go over board the overall aim of the experiment was met. The use of the constant twittering was a good tool but not on Facebook, blocking up other users news feeds with unwanted information.

Hopefully in the future the council will balance their ‘normal’ habits, of notifying residents with their experimental day of social media, for the future benefit for all the community.

Related sites:

Borough of Poole Facebook page

Borough of Poole Twitter account

Borough of Poole Flickr account

Borough of Poole YouTube account

Photo: Borough of Poole Facebook page

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